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The Priest's chair

Priest's chair

Donated by Ida Daly, 2004. U2004.9

This wooden chair dates from the early 1900s and was used on the Fogarty Family farm at Doon Doon by travelling priests to hear confession. In the early 1900s it was common for Catholic priests to travel to isolated communities to hear confession and hold Mass, staying overnight with a respected local family. The Priest would have ridden his horse over the Nightcap Range to reach the Fogarty Farm.

Group of people gather for Mass at Fogarty's farm, C.1935. UC-13

His visit was also a social occasion, with farming families coming together for Mass and confession. The chair is a reminder of how isolated families in the local area used to be.

Bonnie and Min's chair

Bonnie and mins chair
Chair donated by Lorene Baker, 2001. MUS2001.48.1

This cane chair originally belonged to friends Bonnie Hillman and Min Baker.

Bonnie and Min met in 1939 when they joined the Murwillumbah Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS). The WVS had a room above Main Street and would gather to pack donated goodies into tins, wrap them in canvas and stitch them up. Soldiers’ names were written on the packages, then they would be tossed off the balcony to a waiting truck below to take them to the railway station.

Sara Minnie (Min) Baker sitting in the cane chair. C.1977. MUS2014.29.1

The WVS disbanded after the war. Bonnie and Min continued volunteering with the local Red Cross. Bonnie was the original owner of the chair, which was given to Min after Bonnie died.

Tom Crook's chair

crooks chair
Donated by Karen Vidler, 2013. MUS2013.8.1.a

This chair was made by hand by local craftsman Thomas (Tom) Crooks. The chair is part of an outdoor setting, crafted by Tom from cedar milled in the Crooks Valley area (North Arm of the Tweed). He made the outdoor setting for his family in about 1960, when they moved from their house in Murwillumbah to Fingal Head.

Murwillumbah Technical College carpentry and joinery apprentices, with teacher Tom Crooks (with pencil), C.1958.

Tom Crooks was an expert woodworker who taught carpentry and joinery at Murwillumbah Technical College. As well as the outdoor setting, the Museum also holds a chest of drawers, toys and a cedar fishing reel made by Tom, and some of his carpentry tools.

Murwillumbah Primary School chair

school chair
Donated by Murwillumbah Primary School, 2000. MUS2000.73.2.a

This chair was used by children in years 1 and 2 at Murwillumbah Primary School. The School was first opened in 1873 as the Tweed River School, on a site between Bent Street and Waterloo Street. Mr Jonathan Harris was the teacher, and there were 53 children of school age in the district at the time.

Original primary school on Bent Street, C.1900. MUS1992.19.3

By 1911 enrolment numbers swelled to 285, in facilities that seated 155. The overcrowding was so bad that some students were sent to classes in the Murwillumbah Show Pavilion, which had been fitted out with desks.

Eleanor Boyd's chair

Donated by Warren Keats, 1994. TH1994.16

This cedar chair dates to the late 1800s and was owned by Eleanor Margaret Boyd, daughter of cedar getter John Boyd. John and his brother Edward had established themselves in the area in 1850, and worked hard to create acceptable living conditions so their family in Sydney could join them. In 1859 both the brother’s wives and sons departed Sydney for the Tweed, on the schooner Ebenezer. John Boyd’s 6yr old daughter Eleanor, was left behind with grandparents as she had contracted measles.

Eleanor Boyd, C.1855. TH42-04

The schooner was grounded at the entrance to the Tweed River, then struck by a cyclonic storm and destroyed. Both the Boyd brothers wives and sons perished. Eleanor didn’t join her father in the local area until the 1870s.

The Worthy Matron's chair

Donor unknown. ID 33631

This chair was the Worthy Matron’s chair at the Murwillumbah Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. The Chapter was established in 1951 and met in the Masonic Lodge. Members of the Eastern Star raised money for charity and held social functions in town.

Interior of the Murwillumbah Masonic Lodge ready for a meeting of the Order of the Eastern Star, 1989. Photographer: Ernie Cobb, 1989. ID 37210

Worthy Matron was the highest office of the group. Candidates were required to hold every office position in the Order for one year before they were considered. The last Worthy Matron at Murwillumbah was Jean M Dent, 2004-2005, after which the chapter was closed.

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